‘UK PM’s Lanka visit counterproductive’

Raising questions about the effectiveness of the visit by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to Sri Lanka, India said that such energetic moves may not work in ‘South Asian context’ and instead could be ‘counterproductive’.

Published: 22nd November 2013 10:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd November 2013 10:09 AM   |  A+A-

Raising questions about the effectiveness of the visit by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to Sri Lanka, India said that such energetic moves may not work in ‘South Asian context’ and instead could be ‘counterproductive’.

“It is not our style to do what he did,” said a highly-placed source on Thursday, when questioned about the much-reported remarks and travels of David Cameron to Colombo and Jaffna.

It was questionable, indicated the source,  whether Cameron’s statements would make any difference in persuading Colombo to make a vigorous probe into human rights violations by security forces or in devolution of power.

Obliquely criticising the UK Prime Minister, the source asserted, “You can ask what is more effective in the South Asian context,” adding that such actions can be ‘counterproductive’.

It was emphasised that when India ‘makes a point’, it may be missed by outside observers but its interlocutors understand it.

While MEA had wanted Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit CHOGM, the source said that Prime Minister not going is not a reflection on strength of bilateral relations.

When asked if there was too much importance given to regional sentiment, the source countered, “tell me one country where foreign policy is not shaped by domestic policy -- not a single country where domestic imperatives matter”.

On whether India lost leverage over Sri Lanka by Singh not attending CHOGM, it was pointed that there were ‘levers and levers’.

“A lot of them are just at the process of engagement. The very fact that External Affairs Minister did go to Colombo despite protests is appreciated there (in Colombo),” said the source.

Despite the looming shadow of China, it was pointed out that geography kept both countries talking to each other. “In same way, India cannot wish away Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka can’t wish away India,” the source said.



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